Saturday, May 16, 2009

Call for Foreign Assistance Reform

From our friends at ONE:

American anti-poverty efforts save lives in the developing world every day, funding AIDS drugs and anti-malarial bed nets. Our commitment to development makes it possible for farmers to improve their yields, and for more children to go to school, breaking cycles of hunger and poverty.

But the current foreign assistance act governing this system was written in 1961 to address Cold War problems and it’s ready for an overhaul. It’s time to start crafting a new foreign assistance act that will lead to more transparency and accountability, better communication and coordination between aid agencies such as USAID, the Peace Corps, PEPFAR and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and better cooperation with other countries. The result will be that every dollar spent will go even further to support the best ideas for ending global poverty and preventable disease.

Congressman Howard Berman (D-CA) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) have introduced a bill that will begin the long process of updating the system. The bill is called the Initiating Foreign Aid Reform Act, and it’s the first step of many in reforming how we do development work. By directing the President to write a new strategy, successful passage of the Berman-Kirk bill will move us closer to our goal of bringing development into the 21st century.

Next week, the House Foreign Affairs Committee will consider this critical bill and before they do, we need to make sure it has broad support, by getting as many members of Congress as possible to sign-on as co-sponsors.

Call your US Representative. Ask her/him to support foreign aid reform and to ensure that children will be prioritized in the foreign assistance reform process.

Go to to find your Representative's phone number. For tips, talking points and an instructional video, visit ONE's call action page.